Linking is one of the most important factors in pushing up your organic search engine ranking. Whether you link your web site through directories, other industry web sites or other means, linking is an extremely valuable tool in improving your ranking in search engines. 

Unfortunately, some web sites take linking too far with paid inclusion. Paid inclusion occurs when one web site pays another web site to link to them in order to increase their search engine ranking. Most of the time, a web site with a low Google Pagerank will pay a web site with a higher Google Pagerank so that the higher Pagerank will then translate to them.

Google frowns on paid inclusion. In fact, they will even setup tools for internet users to report web sites they suspect are taking part in paid inclusion. They also try to identify paid inclusion automatically by looking for particular words and phrases in advertisement text. 

Still, web site operators can easily get around these problems by becoming more clever. After all, how difficult is it to embed links into text without making the links seem like paid links? By making these paid links seem more like personal recommendations, it is easy enough to make paid links less suspicious. 

As such, what is your incentive to not partake in paid inclusion? 

The search engines are getting smarter every day and reflecting their knowledge in the ways they track web pages. While it might seem okay to cleverly use paid inclusion now, the risks if Google finds you are great.  

Google has unindexed plenty of web sites for not following their guidelines in the past. Paid inclusion is against their guidelines, and the huge risk of being unindexed and entering “Google Hell” is present when using paid inclusion. Getting around the problems might seem easy enough now, but the risks are greater than any potential benefits. 

Seth Trachtman is a Web Marketing Account Manager for The Net Impact Web Design St. Louis. 

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